I used the CDC’s ranking of powerhouse foods, combined with how many nutrients (specifically potassium, fiber, protein, riboflavin, niacin, folate, B6, calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamins A, C, and B6) the greens pack per calorie, to determine the healthiest leafy greens you can choose.
At the bottom we have a peppery-tasting arugula. While it’s got Vitamins A and K, it’s lacking a real nutrient punch. Next is the perennial, burger-topping iceberg lettuce. You’ll need 33 cups of the stuff to get your daily Vitamin C.
Our purple friend here is called radicchio. It’s packed with more than 100% of the Vitamin K you need in a day. That’s the vitamin that promotes blood-clotting to help wounds heal.
Leaf lettuce is one the most nutritious in our lettuce family. Low in calories — high in vitamins A and K!
Endive is a bitter cousin of radicchio. Loaded with vitamins, it has 20% of the vitamin A you’ll need. Vitamin A is an essential part of normal vision and a health immune system.
This pretty red and green leaf is chard. And it’s a powerhouse. We’re talking 300% of your daily vitamin K. As well as magnesium to control blood pressure, glucose levels and to help muscle and nerve functions.
Coming near the top is — butter lettuce? It’s also called Boston or Bibb lettuce. But unlike real butter, this is crammed with folate, iron, and potassium.
No Caesar salad is complete without romaine lettuce. The CDC calls this a top 10 powerhouse food. One cup has more than 80% of your vitamin A.
At the very top we have a tie. Spinach is a phytonutrient-packed beast. Filled with both iron and potassium, it’s got what you need to regulate blood pressure. And 402% of that Vitamin K.
Tied with spinach for first is Kale. One cup has all the Vitamin A, C, and K you need for the day.
Next time you’re on salad duty, you got this one covered. Whether it’s salad night or you’re beginning a new meal routine, these leafy greens will keep it healthy. Sure, you try to be good during the week and bring a salad to work, or order it as a side instead of fries. But the same ol’ green salad can become a stale choice very quickly.
Luckily, you have options. Here are seven of the best greens to pick when opting for something a little healthier — along with some ideas on how to prepare them.